Amazon will soon roll out a feature that will give its users the liberty to customise Alexa, the company’s voice assistant, to mimic the voice of their families and friends who are no longer alive—a move that has been slammed by the netizens.
During a press conference held on Wednesday (June 22) in Las Vegas, senior vice president Rohit Prasad said, “The goal is to make the memories last after so many of us have lost someone we love during the pandemic.”
At the conference, the company presented its plans for companionship with Alexa. However, the company has not revealed when such a feature will release, reports Reuters.
A video clip was shown in which a young child said, “Alexa, can grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?” After a pause, Alexa confirmed the order and raise her voice a few seconds afterwards. She talked in a more calming, less robotic voice, pretending to sound like the child’s actual grandmother.
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According to Prasad, the firm wants Alexa to have the capacity to adjust to its users’ situations without much outside assistance.
He added, “Not to be confused with the all-knowing, all-capable, uber artificial general intelligence,” or what is pursued by Elon Musk’s cofounded OpenAI or Alphabet’s DeepMind unit.
However, many users took to Twitter to express displeasure over the new feature, saying that it can be used for scams or to create false narratives about people through deepfakes.
The FUCK you will.
Remember when we told you deepfakes would increase the mistrust, alienation, & epistemic crisis already underway in this culture? Yeah that. That times a LOT.
“Amazon has a plan to make Alexa mimic anyone’s voice [w/o their consent]”https://t.co/kXm4EXKgp8
— Damien P. Williams, MA, MSc, ABD, Patternist (@Wolven) June 22, 2022
The phone attacking implications of this tool are not good at all — this will likely be used for impersonation.
At Amazon’s re:MARS conference they announced they’re working to use short audio clips of a person’s voice & reprogram it for longer speechhttps://t.co/5TkEIHoeXG
— Rachel Tobac (@RachelTobac) June 22, 2022
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Amazon hoped the project will help Alexa become ubiquitous in shoppers’ lives.
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(With inputs from agencies)